Sunday, December 16, 2012

Demystifying Referrals

I refer people that are helpful, caring, and customer service oriented. 

I refer people who do what they say they are going to do, sometimes more.

I refer people who have joy in doing what they do.

I refer people who I can count on.

I refer people with a track record of success.

Who do you refer?

When you discover the kind of people and businesses that you refer, then you can begin thinking about designing your business and your service to earn the referrals that you desire.

Take the time to think about the people that you do refer and the people you would be willing to refer.  Assemble a list of those people.  Be willing to share that list and expand your referral giving.  Be a connector.  The spirit of giving will likely lead to more referrals coming your way.

First you have to walk the walk, then you can talk the talk.  Give referrals in order to get referrals.  Deliver exemplary service to earn referrals.  When you do, then you can talk about your record of success.

In talking about your record of success you will want to communicate without bragging while adding value to the lives of your past clients and sphere. 
For instance, in a marketing piece that shows your recent sales, you will want to include valuable advice on how to reduce energy bills or pay off a mortgage faster.  The truth is your audience is still more concerned about themselves than your livelihood.  By always providing them with something of value they are more likely to be impressed enough with you to recommend you to others.

Assuming that your audience, your past clients and sphere of influence, has a highly favorable view of you such that they might be willing to refer you, they still will not refer you unless you are on the top of their mind, which means that you need to reach out to them on a regular basis with regular communication.  You will not follow up regularly without a follow up schedule and/or a system of communication.  A predesigned system of communication will include a variety of media and occur at regular intervals (monthly, quarterly, annually).

To the extent that you can personalize the communication with past clients and sphere you will be that much farther ahead in earning their referrals.  If the numbers are just too large to personalize effectively, you will want to automate your systems to provide for greater efficiency.  Finding a way to blend automated communications with personalized communications might be ideal.

Nonetheless it is essential to stay on the top of the minds of your fans and keep them fans by always adding value to their lives.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Four-Step Success Formula for a Powerful Business Plan

Experts agree that a good business plan is essential for business success.

However, so many people dread the process of putting together an effective business plan, and they put it off.

Isn’t it easier just to say, “I’m going to do what I did last year, just a little more of it” rather than “reinventing the wheel?”  Easier, yes, but a missed opportunity.

Reinvention is the reason for the process of annual business planning.  An effective business plan isn’t so much the output as it is the process of planning.  Reinventing your business means renewing your energy and recommitting to your goals and strategies.  The process of planning should serve to get you excited about the opportunities to come in the new year.

Here is a simple four-step formula to follow when working on your annual business plan.

1.       Renew
What is the unfinished business of your life?  Where do you want to go?  What do you want to accomplish?  What haven’t you done that you’ve always wanted to do?  What will it take for you to get there, to achieve your dreams?

Business planning is a chance to daydream about what life would be like if only.  If you can see it you can achieve it.

2.       Review
Take a brief look at the past year.  What worked?  What didn’t?  I encourage my clients to view their business as a wheel, to analyze the various sources of business as spokes, and to think about how well-rounded their business is structured.  Do we really want all of our eggs in one or two baskets, or would we rather have multiple streams of business from different sources?

Analyze some of the metrics of your business like average sale price and referrals.  Set some targets for the next year.

3.       Improve
Identify the top three areas where you would like to improve.  Maybe you would like to get better at delivering effective sales presentations.  Perhaps you want to improve the consistency of your lead follow up activities.  Do you want to get better at handling objections?  What about handling rejection?  Think about or list as a task:  to find source material or educational opportunities that can make you better.

4.       Expand
What can you do to make sure you are talking to more of the right people next year?  You need to put the Law of Averages to work for you.  The more shots you take the more shots you’ll make.  Whether you are mailing, calling, or knocking on doors, or networking, or reaching more people through social media or blogging, you have got to expand your reach if you want to grow.  It just doesn’t happen by itself.  Don’t get carried away.  Remember, you are human.

You will need to look realistically at your calendar and your personal commitments and then realistically plan how you can reach more people.  Break the numbers down into bite sized pieces and place your tactics on your calendar as stepping stones to success.

Business planning doesn’t have to be difficult.  Follow these four steps and it can be easy, and fun.  It can energize you for the coming year.  When you are energized you are more productive.

Monday, September 10, 2012

If you missed getting your copy at the Wisconsin Realtors Association convention, you can order a copy at a discounted price direct from the printer at

Friday, June 1, 2012

Common Objections by Open House Visitors

Overcoming objections at the open house will help you obtain more appointments which will lead to more sales.  Our goal is to help home buyers and sellers accomplish their objectives.  They present objections to sales people at open houses because of fear.   They are afraid that a salesperson will sell them something, that they will be talked into doing something they don't want to do.  We all know that we can't do that.  Our job, though, is to help the open house visitor put down their defenses and get them to open up to us.  Once they open up we can help them find the path to home ownership.

Here are some common objections and a few techniques to handle them.  I have a bunch more.  Contact me if you are interested in learning more.

No agent thanks
Objection:  “We want to search on our own.  We’d rather not work with an agent.”
·         Why’s that? [This is almost always a great way to start handling an objection.  It follows the success habit of seeking first to understand.  You will often discover some erroneous assumptions.]
·         What if you know that my services, or the services of a Realtor, wouldn’t cost you anything? [Some people might be under the mistaken assumption that they would have to pay a Realtor out of their pocket to help them buy a house.]

Just started
Objection:  “Oh, well, we’re just starting our home search,” or “we just started looking.”
·         That’s great.  Then it looks like we’ve both got perfect timing.  [Really, when should people connect with a Realtor, at the end of their home search?]

Just looking/curious
Objection:  “We were just curious, so we thought we would stop and take a look.”
·         That’s great, I’m glad you stopped.  Are you thinking about buying or selling? [assume they are curious for a reason – because they are]
·         Do you live nearby?
·         Do you own your home or are you renting?
·         Have you ever thought of selling/buying?
·         If you were to sell your home, where would you move to?  If you were to buy a home, in what area would you want to live?  What kind of home would you want to buy?
·         Goal is to ask open ended questions to find the source of their curiosity, and then offer to help.

Listing agent only
Objection:  “We prefer to work with the listing agent directly.”
·         I’m curious, why do you perceive that to be an advantage to you?
·         Have you bought property in the past directly from the listing agent?  How did your past experience bring you to that conclusion?

Working w/ someone
Objection:  “We are working with an agent already.”
·         That’s fantastic.  Who are you working with?  What company does that person work for?
·         Hmm, I never heard of that person before.
·         How many houses have you looked at?  Have you seen any that you liked?  Why didn’t you buy it?
·         How long have you been going to open houses?  Is your agent holding an open house today?  No,… how come your agent isn’t with you?

Relative/friend in RE
Objection:  “We have a relative/friend in the real estate business.”
·         That’s fantastic.  Who is your relative?  What company does that person work for?
·         Hmm, I never heard of that person before.
·         How many houses have you looked at?  Have you seen any that you liked?  Why didn’t you buy it?
·         How long have you been going to open houses?  Is your agent holding an open house today?  No,… how come your agent isn’t with you?

House to sell
Objection:  “Well, we have a house to sell first.”
·         Perfect, I help people sell houses too.
·         Where is your house?
·         Tell me a little about it.
·         Every week at our sales meeting we network with each other about home sellers and buyers needs.  I know you are probably not ready to put your home on the market quite yet, but, gee, if we had a buyer that was interested in a home like yours would you consider letting us show it?

No commitment
Objection:  “We’re not ready to make any commitments at this point.”
·         Well, gee, I’m not asking for your hand in marriage, I’m just asking you for a date.
·         Have you had a market analysis done on your home to give you an idea of what you might be able to sell your home for and how long it will likely take?  Heck, I don’t mind, I could do one of those for you just so you know?

Looking for son/daughter or friend
Objection:  “We’re just looking for our son/daughter who’s planning to move back here from Houston.”
·         Wow, Houston.  What is bringing them back here?
·         When do they plan to move back?
·         Do they own a home now or are they renting?
·         How will they know the perfect house when you find it?
·         Are they planning a trip to the area anytime soon?
·         Gee, I wonder if I might have the opportunity to interview for the job of their Realtor.
[This is a wild card, you never know what you are going to get.  Build rapport and hope for the best.]